Today’s marriage equality victories result in the return of same-sex marriage to California and the recognition of federal rights and benefits for same-sex marriages within states where it is already legal. While the Supreme Curt ruled that DOMA and its discrimination against same-sex married couples at the federal level is unconstitutional, today’s announcement regarding Prop 8 stated that the Proponents of the case did not have the legal standing to argue their case in court. With this said, Proposition 8’s previous ruling as unconstitutional will be upheld and marriage equality will soon resume within California.
Today’s decision marks the historic end to California’s long struggle for marriage equality after a five-year battle to repeal the discriminatory ban. Proposition 8, a 2008 ballot initiative that stripped same-sex couples in California of the right to marry, has faced multiple legal challenges over the past five years and after the Court’s decision today, is now officially repealed. After the proponents of Proposition 8 filed for a writ of certiorari to rehear the case in court, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments regarding the same-sex marriage ban this past March. Because the Court declined to rule on the case on the grounds that the Proponents of Proposition 8 did not have legal standing, the original ruling that California’s same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional will be upheld and the state will once again enjoy marriage equality.
Today’s ruling in the DOMA case on the other hand extends to country at large and mandates that it is unconstitutional for the federal government to deny same-sex marriages of the same federal rights granted to other marriages. DOMA denied legally married same-sex couples more than 1,100 federal benefits and protections offered to different-sex married couples in the country. Under DOMA, all gay and lesbian couples who are legally married within a state with marriage equality are denied these basic marriage rights due to discriminatory federal law. Now that the Supreme Court has struck down Section 3 of DOMA, which had previously limited federal benefits to different-sex married couples, same-sex married couples will now be able to receive the same marriage rights, benefits, and protections afforded to all married couples.
While the nation will now recognize the marriages of gay and lesbians Americans, today’s ruling does not mean that the country will enjoy widespread marriage equality. Rather, because DOMA pertains specifically to the federal government’s recognition of legal marriages at the state level, the fight for full marriage equality still remains a state’s rights issue.
From the denial of Social Security survivor benefits to unequal access to family leave, spousal health care, immigration rights or a long list of tax benefits, same-sex couples lose out on a host of important protections and are forced to navigate many unclear and often discriminatory federal policies because of DOMA. Today’s ruling will now allow legally married same-sex couples to enjoy the same rights as other married couples and no longer be discriminated against at the federal level.
Pacific Pride Foundation joins other gay rights organizations throughout California and the country celebrating today’s decision to strike down the discriminatory marriage ban. California will now join twelve other states and Washington DC in legally recognizing same-sex marriage.
The Santa Barbara Equality Project, a program of Pacific Pride Foundation, will be holding a celebration at the Santa Barbara Courthouse Sunken Gardens at 6PM to commemorate the historic end to California’s same-sex marriage ban. This is a public event and supportive members of the community are invited to share in the celebration and join others in reflecting on the state’s newly restored commitment to marriage equality. Local elected officials and dignitaries are expected to speak. For more details, please contact Lauren at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (805) 963-3636 ext 121.